Separation anxiety happens when an attached pet shows distressing behavior when separated from its owner. Cats are believed to be more aloof and independent than most pets. That’s why this trait is rarely associated with them. But avoid falling into this mistake.
According to a recent study, cats who live with people exhibit comparable attachment tendencies to their pet parents as dogs and children do. 64% of the cats assessed were described as being devoted to their owners. When these cats were near their owners, they showed less stress.
Felines come in diverse types and sizes, and with a range of personalities, there’s a good possibility your cat is prone to what can be a severely debilitating condition. The fact that indicators of separation anxiety in cats can be subtle is a concerning issue for pet caregivers. It means that we must be aware of what to watch. Serious health consequences can occur if symptoms go undiagnosed or uncontrolled for an extended period. Here’s how to recognize cat separation anxiety and what you can do to help.
What Are the Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Your Cat?
- Excessive crying or meowing – There are numerous reasons why a cat might be crying. Hunger, boredom, and an overpowering desire to communicate Anything that induces apprehension or pain can trigger an increase in meowing. Whining associated with separation anxiety is persistent and can last long after a pet parent has left the room.
- Uncontrollable urination – Anxious cats will work themselves up to the point where they have no control over where or when they go. Separation anxiety should be presumed if urination or defecation arises instantly after your departure. Setting up a camera in your home to record your cat is a good way to see if this is the case. They may even start urinating on your bed, which is another sign that they are missing you.
- Constant pacing – If your cat appears to be more restless than usual, and obsessive pacing or circling has become occurrent, you should look into it further. A cat who has grown attached to its pet parent may begin frantically pacing just before and after they leave the house.
- Eating too fast or not eating at all – When a cat experiences separation anxiety, its eating habits can rapidly change. As they adjust to a perceived lack of attention, your once-hungry feline may begin to turn its nose up at food. Also, stress and anxiety can cause them to eat much faster.
- Trying to escape – Don’t be surprised if your cat tries to leave the house after you’ve left. In an attempt to escape from their restraint, cats may claw and scratch at doors and windows. If your cat appears content while you are present and does not engage in destructive behavior, then distress is most likely the cause of their recent escape attempts.
Ways To Minimize Separation Anxiety In Cats
- Take note of what soothes your cat – Use this behavior before and after leaving the house. Nobody knows your cat better than you. What makes them feel better? Gentle stroking, pheromone diffusers, or playing in their kitten play area? Whatever tip, trick, or technique you use to help them relax, try to spend a few minutes doing it before you leave and when you return.
- Create an energizing environment – A cat with plenty of things to do to keep them entertained may not even notice you’ve left. Toys and puzzle feeders can keep them occupied for some time. Close the curtains but allow them easy access to the window sills. You can also set up a bird feeder near a window to keep them entertained while you’re not there.
- Maintain a routine – Cats enjoy following a routine. They may become anxious and stressed if there is too much interference. Leaving the house is part of this category, so minimize disturbances. And if possible, feed, play, and bring your cat to pet groomers on a fixed schedule. If you leave the house at different times, try slowly adjusting their schedule. The more consistently you can keep a routine, the happier and more content your cat will be.
- Consider leaving them in a pet hotel – If you’re working long hours or going away for a few days, consider leaving your cat in a pet hotel. A pet hotel has all the amenities for a cozy stay, a few other cat companions to have fun with, and an experienced and pet-friendly staff. You are guaranteed that your cat is safe and won’t trigger separation anxiety, especially when you are not around.
While some signs of cat separation anxiety may be subtle, it is critical to take immediate action once they are identified. Without a diagnosis, this type of anxiety can be disabling for cats and may require a trip to the vet. Exercise is an excellent way to alleviate separation anxiety while improving a cat’s physical and mental health. If their separation anxiety worsens or you suspect the symptoms are indicative of something more serious, you should seek professional help right away.